Estate Planning: Take Care of Your Loved Ones Even When You Can’t

Wednesday, October 16th, 2019

By Michelle Harris

My husband and I will plan out a fun-filled date within five minutes, but when the time comes to pick a babysitter for our night out, it can take us up to an hour to choose someone who will be suitable to watch our youngsters.  We always seem to end up choosing grandparents, because where can you go wrong with grandparents? They’re free, and you know they’ll treat your kids with love and affection!

If this scenario sounds similar to you, imagine how you would feel if you didn’t get to choose who takes care of your children if you and your spouse were to pass away?  There may be quite a few family members who would love to take care of your children, what if the care of your children causes a rift in your family?  What happens to your money, will it be used to take care of your children?

These questions may not plague your mind because the thought of death may not seem real, or likely, due to your age and health.  It would be my preference to make these choices while I am able, with my husband, before they are left to a court to decide.

If you choose to do an estate plan, you can carefully map out the future. Options for estate plans can include the following:

  • A Trust
    • This can be set up on your behalf to control where and how assets are distributed.
    • If you would like your children to continue living in the manner that they were prior to your death, the Trust funds could be distributed to care for your children’s health, education, support, and maintenance until they reach an appropriate age. If you are concerned that your children would not make mature financial decisions until 25, then the Trust could distribute funds at that age, or later.
    • Probate can be a lengthy and burdensome process. A Trust can be used to avoid the probate process, which could save potentially thousands of dollars and your family time in obtaining the assets and money intended for them.
  • Pour-Over Will
    • A Trust is often paired with a Pour-Over Will.
    • It dictates that remaining assets, not in your Trust, will be directed into the Trust and distributed, to avoid Probate.
    • This may include a list of tangible personal items that are intended to pass to certain individuals.
    • A Guardian and Conservator may be appointed to care for children, or even your fur-babies.
  • Power of Attorney
    • In the event of physical, mental disability or incapability to make lucid decisions, you may appoint an Agent to make these decisions on your behalf.
    • This could range in making decisions relating to:
      • Health issues such as medication, treatment, surgery; or
      • Financial matters such as banking, filing tax returns, exercising employment benefits.

Please contact our office if you are interested in customizing an estate plan that is right for you and your family.

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